The Volvo Ocean Race has worked closely with the Save the Albatross Campaign since 2005, helping to increase awareness around the global plight of albatrosses. The Save the Albatross Campaign was initiated to inform and demonstrate to fishermen how to prevent incidental mortality of these endangered birds. We, the Albatross Task Force form an important aspect of how the campaign functions.
This year the Volvo Ocean Race has allowed members of the Albatross Task force to have a presence at the race village in each of the ports where we operate. Cape Town is the first port where this has happened.
Each day morning we have 30 school children come and visit the stand where we give them a 10 minute lesson on what amazing birds the albatrosses are, the problems these birds face when they interact with our fisheries and some of the solutions we have to solve the problem. Many of the children we see have never even heard of albatrosses and are amazed when I bring out my tape measure to show them the enormity of an albatross’ wingspan (up to 3.5m). Our stand is open all day for members of the public to ask questions, get information about our work or to donate to the project. I was also lucky enough to be able to be given the opportunity to present a short talk on the work the ATF does locally to some of the team members of the race.
This year the Volvo Ocean Race has also launched a global campaign which is aiming to raise the awareness of the increasing volumes of pollution that is found in our oceans and threatens our marine life. They have a very effective and emotive video displaying the effect of pollution on albatrosses on one of their breeding islands (Midway Island). I think this is definitely going to have a very positive influence on anyone who views it.
Go and visit the Volvo Ocean Race website for more information or just to follow your favourite team (www.volvooceanrace.com). You can also keep a look out for the Volvo Ocean Race Game!